CHANGES FOR 2008:
– Sedan reduced to two models; base model renamed LX with new upgrade Value Package available, Touring model content and options revised
– Convertible as of November, 2007, is discontinued. Examples will be available until dealer stocks are exhausted.
– High-output turbocharged engine discontinued
– Automatic transmission standard on Touring sedan
– Standard four-speaker sound system
– Heated cloth front seats available on Touring
– Standard front seat-mounted airbags
– Standard remote keyless entry
– Standard trip computer with compass and outside temperature gauge
– New optional Sound Groups
– Body-colour grille
For 2008, the Chrysler PT Chrysler trims down its lines, while adding more standard equipment. Previously available with a choice of three engines, it now comes with two: a naturally-aspirated 2.4-litre four-cylinder, or a turbocharged 2.4-litre four cylinder that makes 180 hp. The 230 hp, high-output turbocharged engine has been dropped.
All models come with disc and drum brakes that can be optioned to four-wheel discs with ABS; checking off the turbocharged engine option automatically adds the ABS brakes. In addition to the standard seat side airbags, all models also come with a driver’s inflatable knee blocker.
The LX Sedan uses the naturally-aspirated engine with a five-speed manual that can be optioned to a four-speed automatic, and includes 15-inch steel wheels, cloth seats, floor console, power locks with keyless entry, manual remote mirrors, 65/35 split fold-and-tumble removable rear seats, engine immobilizer, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary jack, tilt column, tire pressure monitor lamp, power windows, variable intermittent wipers and intermittent rear washer/wiper. Available options include ABS, cruise control, power mirrors and air conditioning.
The Touring sedan uses the naturally-aspirated engine with four-speed automatic and can be optioned to the turbocharged engine with four-speed autobox; additional features include 16-inch aluminum wheels, air conditioning, YES Essentials stain- and odour-resistant fabric seats, vehicle information centre, floor mats, deep-tint sunscreen, fog lamps, dual front courtesy lights, power mirrors, 12-volt outlet in the cargo compartment, six-way power driver’s seat, fold-flat front passenger seat, security alarm, rear multi-position shelf panel, cruise control, and leather-wrapped wheel.
The Touring convertible uses the naturally-aspirated engine with five-speed manual, and can be optioned to the four-speed automatic, or to the turbocharged engine with automatic. Features are similar to the Touring sedan, plus power convertible top with rear glass window and defroster, boot cover in interior trim colour, garage door opener, 50/50 split rear fold-and-tumble non-removable seats, sport bar with dual dome lamps, vinyl steering wheel, and locking glovebox. Unique to the convertible are optional leather seats and 17-inch aluminum wheels with performance tires.
It’s been around for a while, but the PT Cruiser remains a useful hauler, with upright seating for five in the sedan, and four in the convertible. Visibility is excellent in the sedan, and it offers a lot of cargo space, especially when the rear seats are removed; when equipped with the fold-flat passenger seat, it can carry a load of eight-foot boards with the rear hatch closed. The rear cargo area contains a table that can be adjusted to several positions, flipped to form a waterproof cargo floor, or pulled forward and turned into a table for picnics.
The convertible offers open-top motoring for relatively low dollars; although there’s a fair bit of cowl shake, it’s still a fun car to drive. The sport bar isn’t a roll bar, but is meant to reduce buffeting, and hides under the roof when it’s upright. The top lifts and lower electrically, although it’s a pain to attach the boot, and the lowered roof steals considerable rearward visibility. The car also looks much better with the top down than up. The trunk is huge by ragtop standards, and can be enlarged by tumbling the seats forward.
The PT Cruiser has considerable competition in its segment, and should be shopped against vehicles like the Chevrolet HHR, Mazda5, Suzuki SX4, Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe.